ARP: New Castle County announced the Creation of School-Based Wellness Centers

 New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced the creation of school-based wellness centers in underserved communities using American Rescue Plan funds. The program will establish wellness centers in four schools to help families and communities address trauma and mental health issues faced throughout the pandemic. The program is a partnership between school districts, county government and the Delaware School-Based Health Alliance, among others. Wellness centers will work together with other school staff, like nurses and psychologists, and community physicians to create plans for managing the health of students or addressing any chronic health problems. While the centers will not provide ongoing mental health services, they will offer initial consultations to help students seeking next steps.

ARP: St. Louis MO, Signed a Bill to Use American Rescue Plan Funds for Abortion Access

Missouri: St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a bill to use American Rescue Plan money for abortion access. With Missouri’s trigger law taking effect in June after the Supreme Court ruled abortion unconstitutional, abortions are banned unless the health of the mother is in danger with no exceptions for rape or incest. Jones approved the use of $1 million in ARPA funds to assist with travel and childcare for those seeking an abortion out-of-state, and an additional $500,000 will go toward other reproductive healthcare services. “A few weeks ago, I stood in this very spot, and I said I would fight like hell to make sure St. Louisans can access the reproductive health care they need,” said Jones during the signing ceremony. “Today, we won the first round in the ring.”

ARP: Phoenix AZ, Improving Public Health with Mobile COVID Testing and Vaccination Units

From the beginning of the pandemic, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has centered her response on a simple question: How can we get resources to our residents? Rather than have residents come to a centralized location for services, the mayor and her team brought the services to the community.

 The mayor’s office is particularly excited about an innovative, high-impact health program that grew out of the pandemic and is now being funded by ARP.

The office created mobile COVID testing and vaccination units to bring services to areas where they can have a big impact. City officials partner with community leaders, such as pastors, to make getting COVID tests and vaccines as easy as possible. By working with and being invited into communities by trusted partners, the city is able to have a bigger impact than going it alone. With ARP funding, the unit administered tens of thousands of COVID-19 tests and thousands of COVID-19 vaccines.

The city has used the same concept to initiate a mobile workforce development unit, allowing residents to get help with resumes in their neighborhoods, and even take part in Zoom interviews with potential employers. 

ARP: Richmond Invests in Health Care Equity

Mayor Levar Stoney proposed a bold Equity Agenda for the city’s American Rescue Plan allocation and over the summer put these funds into action through the Health Equity Fund and Positive Youth Development Fund. The Health Equity Fund awarded $230,000 in its first round of grants to programs serving vulnerable residents and that also fill in gaps of service, such as providing clinical mental health services in satellite centers directly in the community. In June, the city announced partnerships with 37 youth organizations that will receive grants from the Positive Youth Development Fund to provide positive youth development and youth violence prevention opportunities.

ARP: Defending Reproductive Freedoms

Alderwoman Annie Rice sponsored Board Bill Number 61 that provides $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help women get out-of-state abortions. ARPA funds will cover transportation, childcare, and other logistical costs to help women receive abortions outside of Missouri. “We’re not going quietly here. We’re going to do everything within our power to make sure they have the healthcare access that they need,” Rice said. In addition, the bill will allocate $500,000 towards other reproductive health services such as access to doulas and lactation support.

ARP: Colorado Invests in More Mental Health Support

The pandemic has put a spotlight on and intensified the mental health crisis in Colorado, like it has all over America. Former Senator Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood), chaired a legislative task force on behavioral health. Pettersen’s committee recommended spending federal aid on a variety of behavioral health initiatives, especially targeting those who are most vulnerable, including increasing access to rehabilitation and other inpatient care, and diverting people with behavioral health conditions to care instead of jail. In addition, a segment of the funding will address the needs of Colorado’s Native American populations and of the state’s youth, an issue of particular concern for Pettersen.

Determined to address the issue, Pettersen has highlighted the “unacceptable” and tragic 60 percent increase in suicides among young people. Even before receiving ARP funding, Gov. Polis hired a Behavioral Health Commissioner to help lead the state’s efforts in the area. The federal infusion of funding will “really put meat on the bones” of these programs, according to Polis’ office. ARP funding will allow the state to hire more behavioral health workers, increase the number of beds for behavioral health issues, and support providers, particularly those serving children and youth.

Supporting Delaware’s Mothers

This week, NewDEAL Leader New Castle County, DE Executive Matt Meyer announced a new initiative to support disadvantaged first-time mothers with access to health care. The program is financed using the innovative Pay for Success funding model, pioneered in the U.S. by NewDEAL Alum, former Salt Lake County, UT Mayor Ben McAdams, who used this approach to tackle issues like early childhood education, homelessness, and criminal justice reform. Other NewDEALers, including Mayor Hancock in Denver, have seen success in addressing homelessness using Pay for Success, which involves a funder from outside government making the initial investment in a project and government funds kicking in when certain milestones are achieved. Read more about the new program in Delaware and its goal of serving 120 Medicaid-eligible first-time mothers over four years.

Paid Family Leave in Burlington, VT

This week, NewDEAL Leader Burlington, VT Mayor Miro Weinberger reached an agreement with the city workers’ union that would make Burlington the first city in Vermont to offer paid family leave. The leave benefit will be offered immediately, with city workers eligible for four weeks of fully paid leave, and will scale up each year to add additional weeks of available leave at 60 percent payment. Check out an article for more details about this important benefit, which the mayor notes will help retain workers.


Commision on Gender Equity


Women continue to face barriers to achieving equitable outcomes across numerous sectors including their career and healthcare. The American Economic Association found that the additional time mothers take to be home with their child makes them less likely to be promoted, obtain a management position, or acquire a pay raise once their leave has concluded. Moreover, they are at a higher risk of being laid off or demoted. Furthermore, the National Center for Health Statistics found that in 2020, the maternal mortality rate was 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in comparison to 20.1 in 2019. However, black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. 


Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced steps to develop a Commission on Gender Equity. A task force will conduct community outreach to help structure a commission that will work to break down barriers that continue to limit opportunities for women in the community. The Commission’s work will build on efforts started during the mayor’s tenure, such as the Healthy Babies Louisville Initiative to decrease maternal and child morbidity, as well as paid parental leave for Louisville Metro Government employees.

Novel Strategy to Address Mental Health and Homelessness

This week, Santa Cruz County, CA Supervisors, including NewDEAL Leader Ryan Coonerty, unanimously approved a new strategy for addressing mental illness among homeless individuals in the county. The “Mental Health Services Act Innovation Plan” aims to enroll approximately 600 people experiencing homelessness. The program will send field teams to meet participants where they are and provide clinical and case management services to both address mental health concerns and help transition participants into permanent housing. The program will help the County plot a permanent response that could serve as a model for other localities. Read more here.